The visual eccentricity of Mob Psycho 100

The new Mob Psycho 100 II trailer was released last week and I’m pumped! I admire its story but what’s really pushing me over the edge is the animation. It’s such a weird looking anime, heavily influenced by One’s manga, but brought to life by Bones in a rare and lavish attempt to go all out on a story that emphasises the rough and messy over the clean and consistent.

I miss anime that look rough and messy. It’s an aesthetic choice that elicits a different feeling from the viewer, especially when the rough and messy collides with high school.

Too often, high school anime are drenched in a rose-coloured nostalgia and iyashikei. Yet so much of what I remember from my own school life is students being loud, awkward and dumb. The dumpy way that Mob Psycho 100 is drawn is a reflection of that. The characters can be framed heroically in one scene, only to look uncomfortable in the next.

It’s the anime equivalent of a kettle boiling…

Mob Psycho 100

… placid, cold water becomes…

Mob Psycho 100

… boiling hot…

… only to cool down again.

There is beauty in Mob Psycho 100, but it’s tempered with reality.

Mob Psycho 100

We all look messy and stupid eating a burger that’s too big for our mouths, but…

… we can also be cool and responsible in the eyes of others when…

… facing hardship head-on.

I really hope that Mob Psycho 100 is a success. Honestly, I trust that it’s going to be a good series, but I would love to see more anime look as eccentric as this.

Of late, I’ve been lamenting how so much anime just looks the same. For example, there are subtle differences between SSSS.GRIDMAN, Run with the Wind, Tsurune and BANANA FISH, but all of them are drawn through the same nostalgic lens. None of them could be called ugly. Ugly is typically a derogatory term, but life is not always so pretty. I need those rougher edges.

Violet Evergarden is a good example of what I’m trying to get at here. I dropped it very early on because I didn’t feel like Kyoto Animation were capturing the disgusting reality of WWI. Every character looked so pretty that I fell out of the story. It was too much of a fairy tale, like a white lie being whispered into my ear. I wasn’t in the mood for idealism, and I realised Violet Evergarden wasn’t for me.

Idealistic and pretty Mob Psycho 100 is not. It’s rough and messy, just the way I like it.

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